Friday, 27 February 2009

Alternate career: Linguist

Did you know that there are seven THOUSAND languages in the world? But by the end of this century half of them will be extinct? Wow. I think that's pretty cool. I think if I didn't want to study Journalism or English or CSP or HOST or English or French, I'd study Linguistics. It's pretty high up on the list, because language is just so darned interesting. Language reflects the cultural experience of the people who speak it. We translate different languages back and forth, but it's never perfect (as I say snobbishly about French translations to anyone who will listen). I'm going to steal my tutor's analogy here: Languages are all like games, but they're as different from one another as Monopoly is from Connect 4.

Apparently, there's this new documentary airing tonight on PBS (not that I can find it here in Canadia) called "The Linguists", about linguists who travel the world documenting languages that are going extinct. At the beginning of this video (the first 5 min or so) they're documenting Chylym, a language spoken by only three or four people. Russian has taken over.

And here's an article about it.


Phil said...

You've given me an idea for a documentary proposal I have to write up for my docs and mocks seminar! I'm going to develop a documentary about dying North American languages. It's going to be awesome. And is due Wednesday. And this is the first thought that I've given to it.

Ella said...

I thought I would love linguistics. Then I took a class. I didn't understand a word (ha). Apparently I just love the English language, and etymology of words I understand, and not things like dipthongs and inverse grammatical structures. I made both of those terms up/took them out of the air. I'm not sure they're real.